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Camino de Santiago Week 5: We Did It !!

After 35 days of walking, we have finally done it! We have completed our Camino de Santiago pilgrimage!

We have just finished walking for 10% of the year!!

Finishing on Saturday was amazing, as this was the goal we had set for ourselves the week prior. It involved us walking 40kms more than we had any other week, but we got there. And here are the steps we took:

Our Albergue in Las Herrerias

September 4th – Cacabelos to Las Herrerias (27.8 kms) – Leaving in the darkness allowed us to take our time today, with lots of coffee stops! In Trabadelo, we actually went from one coffee stop, walked 200 metres, then stopped for a glass of wine. In the end we ended up at the foot of the mountain in a hippie-esque, vegetarian albergue…complete with homemade hummus and tie-dyed bed sheets.

September 5th – Las Herrerias to Fonfria (20.3 kms) – This was a shorter day, only because we spent the first half of it climbing a mountain. At the top of the hill we celebrated by buying replacement wedding bands (our real ones are at home). Our day finished in Fonfria, where the only road was made mostly of cow shit, and we actually had a few cows walk right by the restaurant window, just as we finished a steak.

Our view from the top of the mountain...we thought it was worth it

September 6th – Fonfria to Sarria (34.1 kms) – We left the farm early in the morning, and ended up staying at Albergue Don Alvaro. Sarria was a bit of a bigger city, but we were exhausted, and didn’t do much other than sleep and eat.
September 7th – Sarria to Ventas de Naron (36kms)- another mighty hot day, where we walked till late in the afternoon. Skott’s shoulder was getting sore from putting the backpack on 300 times over the past month, but we made it to the tiny little town of Ventas de Naron.

Breaking the 100km mark

September 8th – Ventas de Naron to Melide (27 kms) – Originally we were looking forward to a short day of 22kms. However, we were somewhat bummed, when we realized our guide book was wrong, and we actually owed the day an additional hour of walking… that being said, we were till done walking by 1PM, and spent the rest of the day in Melide, staying at Albergue O Palpador.
September 9th – Melide to Pedrouzo (33 kms) – Our LAST long day of walking…knowing this made the day more than manageable. We could not be stopped and we knew it. We took our time, had plenty of breaks, and arrived at the Porta de Santiago albergue in Pedrouzo.
September 10th – Pedrouzo to Santiago!!! (20 kms) – our journey ended on a a cool, rainy day. It was a very short walk, with the last 5 kms weaving through the streets of Santiago, before we finally arrived at the Cathedral, thus ending our 5 week pilgrimage. Tears, hugs, and absolute elation over our accomplishment followed….we were absolutely overwhelmed.

Total for the week – 198.2 kms

Total walked – 788.6 kms !!!

Skott’s Thoughts

How do you describe it? How can you possibly?

In the past, I have trained for, and run, a full marathon. Sure the training took longer than the Camino, but the race itself was only 4 hours. This was 5 weeks!

…and it most definitely was not a race.

A few days before finishing, Shawna and I sat down, and went through our guidebook, reminiscing on where we had stayed each night for the past four and a half weeks. There were so many things that took place SO long ago, but they were still a part of this same journey. Each day was so different, that you could never fully use the last day’s experience to prepare for the next. Be it weather, terrain, walking partners, fatigue levels, or where you lay your head at night, it was always changing. It was a cool exercise for us to have undertaken, just to remind us how far we have come.

See?! Different walking partners every day...

About 100-150kms away from Santiago, we saw a sizable increase in the number people on the Camino. Many people begin their pilgrimage from within this distance, and although you try to see everyone equally, it was challenging to do so after all the distance you have walked. We found this was a pretty normal feeling amongst other pilgrims who had started in St.Jean. That being said, we met many people who began their Camino in Austria, Italy, Germany, or Belgium…meaning that they walked 3 or 4 times as far as we did, so I suppose that it is all a matter of perspective, and that it truly is important to be proud of what we have accomplished, and do not worry about anyone else.

Taking time to celebrate...

So…would I do this again?

Honestly….I hope I will. Not tomorrow. Or even in the next two weeks, but maybe in four or five years from now, perhaps there is a chance for me to escape for a month (sidenote to potential future employers, I am only kidding). There are other Caminos in Spain. They are less popular, hence less infrastructure and sometimes more challenging, but perhaps the Camino del Norte or the Camino Portugues are in my future.

One thing I do know is how incredibly lucky I was to have done this Camino with Shawna. I don’t want to spend too much time pumping this girl up (you already know I like her)…but, this was something that she was very on the fence about doing before we began. She has mentioned that here previously.

But what you might not know, is how much more challenging this was for her than for me. It is not to say that I am stronger, because that is not the case. However Shawna’s body requires a bit more rest than I do. Shawna tries so hard to make sure she is fueling her body with healthy food, and in turn making sure that I am eating well also. This is not negotiable for her, and that proved to be a real challenge at times for us.

okay, so cheesecake isn't exactly healthy, but...

Likely, the biggest challenge for her was the element of solitude that we dealt with on a daily basis. Sure we met people here and there while walking, but most of the socializing was done at the end of the day, and we spent many hours with just the two of us walking alone.

With Lucy, one of our Camino pals!

For me this is not that much of problem. I generally think my own company is more than enough :) But Shawna really thirsts for that human interaction. Those relationships and connections, and there wasn’t always a lot of that to be found.

It was just me and her. And I am not that interesting after 30 minutes, never mind 30 days.

I was so incredibly proud of her when we finally arrived in Santiago. It was really a pretty cool moment. It’s not to say she didn’t appreciate the moment, or that she did not have fun, but there were moments when she wanted to pack it in….but there was not a chance that was ever going to happen.

Although, as mentioned above, there were many moments of solitude (or loneliness, depending upon your perspective), we did also meet many inspirational, incredible people along the way. To all of you – thank you! You played a huge role in how much fun I did have over the past five weeks.

I will never EVER forget our Camino!

Shawna’s Thoughts

It’s difficult to put this last week into words…there were so many emotions and as I write this, 3 days after we arrived in Santiago, I feel that this journey and everything I learned along the way is still slowly sinking in.

Over the course of the last week we stayed at some really great albergues and tried our best to truly embrace our last 7 days on the road. We were so excited and ready to finish but at the same time, we didn’t want to wish it by.

Our last morning on the Camino-ready & excited to walk the last 20km in to Santiago

There are three things that were most significant to me on this fifth and final week. The first was the sense of accomplishment Skott and I felt each day as we pushed forward, over 30km per day, to make our goal of finishing on the Saturday. Each day that we made our goal destination, we let ourselves get a little bit more excited that we were going to make this happen.

The second thing was that I seemed to spend more time noticing and reflecting upon all the inspirational people we met on the Way. We saw a man with one leg doing the Camino and I remember seeing him using his crutches as he pushed up a hill that I found difficult with two legs. I had this huge sense of respect for not only the physical strength that this must have took, but even more so, the mental focus and strength that would be required. I also witnessed an 84 year old French woman complete the walk and was lucky enough to find her in the Cathedral in Santiago to congratulate her. Incredible!

The third thing that I will still never be able to fully describe is arriving in Santiago. It was a rainy, misty day and the Cathedral was larger than life when it finally became visible to us from within the mist. I was SO physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted from the past 35 days and I don’t think it fully hit me until we finally arrived at the foot of the Cathedral stairs. Skott gave me a huge congratulatory hug and all of a sudden I just started to cry. I can’t compare this pilgrimage to anything I’ve ever done in my life…but I’ll remember it forever. It was pretty incredible to share the experience with Skott and we both agreed that we are very lucky to have walked it together so that we could understand what the other had been through to get to the end.

Image from

In the following days we visited the Cathedral to attend Mass and ran into a lot of people we had met along the Way. It seemed that after a shower and a day or so to reflect, we all shared the same peaceful look on our face. It was a lot of fun to say goodbye and reminisce about our journeys together over some celebratory drinks.

Attending the huge Mass with our fellow pilgrims.

Thanks again to everyone who sent us so much love and encouragement as we conquered this goal! And if anyone is interested in doing the Camino, now that we’ve had a little rest, we would be happy to help out with any information!

What’s Next?

After spending a few days catching up on sleep and resting our legs, we will be jumping on an overnight train to Madrid, and then we will be saying adios to Spain and the rest of Europe and moving on to Morocco!!!

We’ve slept in a different bed for 60 of the last 80 nights, so we are so very excited about the idea of finding an apartment in Fes, and settling down for the next 4-5 weeks.

Bring on North Africa! We can hardly wait!

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25 Responses to “Camino de Santiago Week 5: We Did It !!”

  1. Dalene September 15, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    A HUGE, GIGANTIC congratulations for such an amazing feat! I cannot even begin to imagine the difficulties you endure on this journey (and I got a little teary eyed reading about the finish!)

    An incredible accomplishment. You should be so proud of yourselves!
    Dalene recently posted..Spooky Edinburgh

    • Shawna September 15, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

      Thank you so much Dalene! It is a really memorable way to end our European stint of this RTW trip. By the way, we really appreciated all the helpful info on your site about house sitting. We haven’t found a fit yet, but it’s always exciting hearing about the opportunities out there! Are you guys in Edinburgh right now then? Isn’t it a wonderful city!!

      • Dalene September 16, 2011 at 11:58 am #

        Hopefully something turns up for you soon! We are in Brussels actually (the blog is a couple of weeks behind), and about to leave for Germany. Going to be moving fast for the next couple of weeks until we sit for a month at a London housesit!
        Dalene recently posted..Spooky Edinburgh

        • Skott September 18, 2011 at 1:33 am #

          I am sure something will eventually, but yes…it does seem as though there are many more House sitting opps in England compared to Morocco, eh?? Hmmm, maybe we should stop being so damm picky! :)

  2. Rob Enns September 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    Congrats guys, you’ve done awesome.

    • Shawna September 15, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

      Thanks Rob!! Are you up for going with your brother next time!? haha

      • Skott September 18, 2011 at 1:37 am #

        She’s serious Rob. You are coming with me next time, aren’t you???

  3. Manuela September 15, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

    Wow guys!! Congrats! You should be so proud of yourselves, this is an amazing accomplishment! My boyfriend and I are planning our own RTW and the Camino de Santiago is def. something I would love to try, not sure if I have the strength you guys do but reading up on your experience has inspired me to put it down as a for sure. Congrats again you guys are awesome!!!

    • Skott and Shawna September 15, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

      If you have any additional questions, or if there is any other help we can provide you with, let us know. If you take it slow and steady, I suspect you will find that you have more strength than you initially thought. Don’t doubt it, just do it!!! Seriously….

  4. Jodi September 15, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    Way to go guys!!!!! We are all very proud of you. Hopefully, the next part of your trip can be a bit more laid back:) Going to Starbuck’s tonight with Jillene and Carly to enjoy that pumpkin latte. Thanks again!

    • Skott September 16, 2011 at 8:42 am #

      Thanks Jodi! I think things might get laid back in about a week or so, but I suspect our first few days in Morocco will be a bit crazy.
      Glad to hear you went to Starbucks – Shawna and I have recently had our own Starbucks experience in Madrid…it was a cool reminder of home!

  5. Jaime September 16, 2011 at 1:01 am #

    Wow a huge CONGRATS… that is so awesome!!! It’s been nice following along on y’alls camino. Looks like such an amazing journey. I would love to do it, but I think right now I am not ready for it. Well I am glad y’all are coming to Morocco as I am here already and loving it. Looks like we will def be meeting up in Fes. I;m excited to finally meet yall.
    Jaime recently posted..A week in Valencia & we did nothing…

    • Skott September 16, 2011 at 8:50 am #

      Thanks Jaime – much appreciated! We will see you sometimes in Morocco!

  6. Guy September 16, 2011 at 3:25 am #

    Fantastic accomplishment team Enns!! I can tell by your descriptions that the Camino has been a complete experience – Mind, body & spirit ! Rest up let it soak in and enjoy!

    • Shawna September 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

      Thanks SO much Dad : ) Love you!

  7. Carolyn Thomson September 16, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    Congratulations guys! I am beyond impressed and confess to getting a little teary eyed as I read your descriptions of the experience. I love that you have taken the time to really, really absorb the enormity of this achievement. I’m so excited to hear about Morocco, it is approaching the very top of my “Where to go next” list! Bon Voyage!

    • Shawna September 17, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

      Hi Carolyn! I think it worked out really well that we had those few extra days in Santiago to take it all in. I have only been in Morocco one day, but I think I can highly recommend it!! Last night we had a couscous dish with pumpkin, squashes, cabbage and raisins in it-everything I imaged Moroccan cuisine to be! The sweets are insane as well! Great to hear from you, keep in touch : )

  8. Weaver September 16, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    Congrats to you two! Big accomplishment.

    Skott, I noticed you shaved your “beard”. Good move. You were starting to look like Moses on Parks & Rec!


    • Skott September 18, 2011 at 1:36 am #

      That’s what 35 years of not shaving gets a guy….it was truly a piece of work wasn’t it! For my next trick, I will stop shaving my chest hair.

      Oh shit, did I say that out loud?

  9. Erica September 17, 2011 at 4:14 am #

    Congratulations guys! I’m totally stoked for you! You definitely walked more than I could ever imagine. Actually, I even decided to downgrade my desire to hike the Inca Trail after a bad experience with a volcano… but yeah – you are downright inspirational. <3
    Erica recently posted..Photo Friday: HDR – Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

    • Skott and Shawna September 18, 2011 at 1:41 am #

      You guys are awesome – thanks tons!

      A volcano???!! Yeah, that might sway us from walking too…. rumour has it lava can be hazardous to your health! Yikes!

  10. Ashley Lenzen September 18, 2011 at 12:44 am #

    Congratulations guys! What a huge physical, mental, and emotional accomplishment! I loved your honesty in describing your experience. Sounds incredible! Have fun in Morocco!
    Ashley Lenzen recently posted..44 Pounds Lighter in Xela

    • Skott and Shawna September 18, 2011 at 1:43 am #

      Thanks Ashley – I think this is something you and Mike would LOVE! I know you have another walk planned, but I am telling you…this would be the perfect “practice walk” for you both!! I swear it!

  11. Danielle Wilson September 29, 2011 at 1:30 am #

    Hey you two!! I have been following you guys and your amazing stories for weeks! All you are accomplishing over there is simply mind blowing and I enjoy reading about every experience that you share. I just wanted to say that im so happy for you both to be going through such a life changing experience together! Miss you xo.

    • Shawna September 30, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

      Awww…thanks Dani! So great to hear from you : ) I’m glad that you’ve been able to share in some of our experiences! It’s a wild ride that’s for sure…some days I’m amazed and others I’m so confused. haha Just recently I tried to be bold and go into the local meat market to get some chicken…I backed out of there SO fast…I expected to see and smell lots of raw meat hanging around unrefrigerated and I was prepared for that but when I saw bunnies and a cow head, I lost my gusto. haha I hope all is well at home!!! Loving the pics of the boys!!

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